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Safari Newsletter Dated March 21, 2017
Dear Vacations To Go Customer,
The first step in planning an African safari is to decide where to
. There are organized safaris in three distinct African regions,
and each offers a different experience. Some itineraries concentrate on
a single country while others combine two, three or more countries into
a single trip. Here's a look at the three regions.
has the largest concentrations of animals, world-famous Serengeti
National Park and Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain. In Tanzania's
Olduvai Gorge, Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey discovered 2 million-year-old
bones and tools from what some believe were the earliest humans. My
first safari was in Tanzania, during the
The world's entire population of mountain gorillas (fewer than 900)
lives in a mountainous region split by Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. A few
years ago, I was able to observe these magnificent animals up close in
the Rwandan side of the Virunga Conservation Area.
offers game viewing on foot and in boats (in addition to open-air
vehicles), unique species of birds and amazing Victoria Falls. I visited
Zambia and Botswana on safari several summers ago and was thrilled with
the game viewing from dugout canoes in the Okavango Delta and from the
backs of lumbering elephants along the Zambezi River.
(the country) is unique in that safaris are
frequently combined with a cosmopolitan segment to form a very diverse
vacation. Game reserves feature the continent's most deluxe safari
lodges, and it's easy to add time in the beautiful city of Cape Town or
the scenic Garden Route stretch of the southern coast.
for a complete list of possibilities.
Once you've chosen your destination, it's time to consider safari
, which can be roughly classified as budget, first class or
deluxe -- in ascending order of cost and quality. Factors in classifying
a safari include quality and location of accommodations, the number of
included activities, size of the group and the level of personalized
offer price-conscious travelers a way to explore
the African continent without breaking the bank. Budget safaris may
feature modest accommodations and are offered by
stay at more comfortable, full-service hotels
and lodges and have more inclusions than budget trips. They are operated
are even more upscale and inclusive, and groups
are smaller. You'll stay in the finest accommodations and enjoy gourmet
dining and personal attention throughout. Deluxe safaris are offered by
Abercrombie & Kent
Adventures by Disney
(the company I chose for my Southern Africa trip),
Natural Habitat Adventures
(the company I chose for my Uganda and Rwanda trip -- it also has
itineraries categorized as first class), and
(the company I chose for my Tanzania trip).
Once you've decided on your destination and safari operator, you must
determine what documentation is required
for each of the
countries you'll be visiting. Passports valid for at least six months
beyond the end of your trip are required for all safari destinations but
South Africa, which requires that the passport be valid for at least 30
days after the date of departure.
Travelers should make sure that there are enough blank, unstamped pages
in their passports for visas and immigration stamps for all countries
that will be entered on the itinerary. The following guidelines are from
the U.S. State Department: At least one blank page for Tanzania, Rwanda
and Uganda; at least two blank pages for Kenya, Zambia and South Africa;
at least three blank pages for Botswana; and at least six blank pages
Next, it's essential to visit a doctor who specializes in travel
or the travel medicine department of a local hospital to
learn about health issues in your destination. Certain immunizations are
required, and others are highly recommended. It's best to make this
visit well in advance of your trip, as some health threats require a
series of inoculations over time, all prior to travel.
Now it's time to shop for safari essentials
. Some items to
consider are the right camera and lens for wildlife photography,
binoculars and clothing suitable for safaris. Blue and black clothing
attracts insects; earth colors of tan, green and brown are preferable.
Clothing coated with Permethrin will discourage most flying and crawling
insects, including malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Outdoors outfitters such
as REI usually carry shirts and pants that are pretreated. You also can
find Permethrin at these types of stores to coat the rest of the clothes
you plan to take.
For my gorilla trek in the mountains of Rwanda, I tested my hiking boots
to make sure I could wear them blister-free for long hours. I also
treated the boots with extra water repellent. A small daypack is good
for carrying camera equipment and water, and a light rain jacket may be
in order for some safari destinations.
Finally, many African safaris involve one or more flights on small prop
planes with strict luggage weight restrictions. I've been known to pack
for a big trip in 15 minutes, but the fear of having to leave some of my
freshly poisoned safari clothes beside a dirt runway somewhere caused me
to do the unthinkable before my first safari -- "practice" packing.
Something to consider as you make your final preparations for what is
sure to be an unforgettable adventure.
Top 10 Africa vacations
Tanzania Deluxe Safari
7 days with SITA Tours. Begins and ends in Arusha. Starting at $2,845.
Departures from April 6 through December 28, 2017.
Botswana and Victoria Falls Adventure
8 days with G Adventures. Begins in Windhoek and ends in Livingstone.
Starting at $1,849. Departures from June 24, 2017 through December 29,
Classic South Africa
8 days with African Travel. Begins and ends in Johannesburg. Starting at
$2,895. Departures from April 19 through December 10, 2017.
Gorillas & Game Parks
16 days with Intrepid Travel. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Starting at
$3,030. Departures from May 6, 2017 through January 20, 2018.
Zambia and Malawi
8 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Lusaka and ends in Lilongwe. Starting
at $4,945. Daily d
epartures from April
15 through December 23, 2017.
Wilds of Botswana & Victoria Falls
11 days with Monograms. Begins and ends in Johannesburg. Save
Starting at $5,099. Daily departures from April 9 through
December 31, 2017.
10 days with African Travel. Begins and ends in Addis Ababa. Receive
reduced airfare from select gateways.
Starting at $5,475. Departures
from April 4 through December 5, 2017.
South African Adventure (For Families)
13 days with Trafalgar. Begins in Johannesburg and ends in Cape Town.
Starting at $5,725. Departs June 18, 2017.
9 days with Abercrombie & Kent. Begins and ends in Entebbe. Starting at
$7,495. Departures from April 5 through October 6, 2017.
South Africa: An Elegant Adventure (BBC Earth Journey)
12 days with Tauck. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg.
Starting at $7,990. Departures from January 12 through November 16, 2018.
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